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Why People Don’t Always Follow Their Doctors’ Advice

Do you always follow your doctor’s advice?

You might be surprised to learn that many people do not.

For someone with osteoporosis, for example, following a physician-directed treatment plan might seem like an obvious or easy thing to do, but it’s not always as simple as one might think.

One study found that only 50 percent of patients follow the instructions associated with taking their medication, and even fewer implement necessary lifestyle changes suggested by their doctor. Not surprisingly, behaviour like this can render a course of treatment less effective. Another study found that 40 percent of patients incur additional risks by ignoring, misunderstanding, forgetting or neglecting healthcare advice.

When patients don’t follow their treatment plan, it may often be because they don’t understand it, or it is simply difficult to adhere to.

Imagine you are not only taking medications to manage your osteoporosis, but perhaps a variety of other conditions as well. Some medications you need to take on an empty stomach; others with food. Some medications are taken once daily; others at regular intervals throughout the day. Indeed, there are some medications that even require you to lie down for a period of time after taking them. Even for the most diligent patient, such a rigorous regimen can be a lot to keep up with.

Fortunately, this common problem may be addressed with newer treatment options. Ask your doctor about all possible treatment options, and more specifically, those that may make it easier to adhere to your treatment plan.

Is your osteoporosis treatment right for you?

If you are currently taking an osteoporosis medication, complete this questionnaire:

  • Do you sometimes miss a dose or forget to take your osteoporosis medication?
  • Are you experiencing any side effects with your current medication?
  • Are you dissatisfied with your current medication?
  • Are you on any other medications that may affect your treatment?
  • Have you lost more than 2 cm (3/4 inch) in height since starting your current treatment?
  • Have you broken a bone since starting your current treatment?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, talk to your doctor. Being able to have an open discussion will help ensure you’re getting a treatment plan that suits you.

If you would like more information for speaking to your doctor, Osteoporosis Canada is a helpful resource.


Download this simple questionnaire and take it with you to your doctor to determine if your osteoporosis treatment is right for you.


Do you find it hard to take your osteoporosis medications regularly and as prescribed?

After reading this article, are you more likely to speak to your doctor about your treatment options to determine which treatment may be best for you?